Ghost Hunter; A former student’s glimpse into the other side

By Martin Montoya, Staff Reporter

Interested in the unex­plainable? Former web design student Bryan Higgins said he was a paranormal investigator, who retired after years of encounters with the unknown.

After about 50 paranor­mal encounters throughout his life and all his local inves­tigations, Higgins still shows pictures and videos of what he claims is his scariest encounter, he said.

In November 2011, Higgins investigated a sup­posed haunted house with a few friends along to help, he said.

To make the study as thor­ough as possible, a daytime walkthrough was required to catch anything unusual before night fell, Higgins said.

Searching through the house with a video camera, Higgins said he and his team spent a long time in a particu­lar room, where a member of his team spotted a red sub­stance on the floor right before they were going to leave.

Higgins told his team that it was probably only candle wax because of its shiny red appearance, he said.

In a video shown to the Chronicle, a member of Higgins’ team can be seen crouching down to touch the liquid, which wicked up onto his finger and caused him to drag his finger across the floor in confusion while he desperately tried to rid himself of what they now believe to be blood.

In the video, Higgins pointed out how the team’s footprints were underneath the red liquid, which had not been there previously and seemed to be undisturbed and fresh, he said.

“We didn’t spot it, didn’t trample it, step on any­thing, all of a sudden this red stuff shows up on the floor,” Higgins said.

Later that night, traveling back to the house again, the team wandered into the attic of the abandoned house, and Higgins said that he and his team were tearing up floor boards when they came across old newspaper articles.

In the articles were sto­ries discussing appearances of blood. Higgins said the articles called them “blood miracles,” and a church was calling it the “blood of Christ.”

Also among their find­ings were books and other documents containing blood appearances, and the descrip­tion of the substance in the documents correlated to exactly what they saw, he said.

“This place is so damn haunted,” Higgins said.

Upon another visit to this house, Higgins said their equip­ment, infra­r e d cameras, electromagnetic force detector and regular cameras, which had been charged up and ready to go, no longer had sufficient bat­tery life 20 minutes after arriving at the house.

The only piece of equip­ment working was the voice recorder, Higgins said, which allowed him to continue his investigation by going into the blood room alone.

H i g g i n s was going into the room to t r y and record an Electronic Voice Phenomenon, or EVP, a technique used by ghost hunt­ers who want to try and com­municate with entities not of this world, he said.

Higgins said to conduct an EVP session, everyone present must remain as still and quiet as possible while someone asks a question out loud and then falls immediately silent, so as not to contaminate anyone’s recordings, making sure to note any sounds made.

This allows investigators to turn up the white noise in the recording around the silent area, where essentially no noise should be in the house, he said.

“It’s real as hell. It’s not a joke, I thought it was and found out the hard way,” Higgins said.

After his team made their thoughts clear that Higgins is crazy to go in the room by himself at night, he went into the blood room alone, only equipped with his voice recorder, he said.

“I have the scariest stuff you will ever hear,” Higgins said.

In the room, Higgins started talking in a not-so-friendly way to whoever may have been listening, and as he spoke a shadow moved across the back window of the room, he said.

“Don’t go there, NO! Chill,” he said in the recording.

Higgins can be heard in the recording saying the encounter was creepy and leaving the room, afraid and aware that he was not alone.

“You should hear this, there is this unearthly voice,” Higgins said.

Upon later examina­tion of his EVP session when Higgins turned up the white noise on the recording, a voice can be heard plain as day, he said.

“I told you not to come in here, AHHHH!” said a voice heard in the EVP recording.

Higgins said his thoughts are that the voice heard is not a person who has passed from our world.

“It sounds like a damn demon,” he said.

Shortly after his investiga­tions, Higgins said something started following him, and messing with him.

Higgins said noises were coming from all cor­ners of his home, the door was being knocked on and the doorbell rang with no one around and no lights on outside triggered by the motion sensor.

Higgins said a streak of blood came out of his wall, which he has left there for the chance to be able to test it.

“Things don’t make sense, but there is some kind of supernatural expla­nation as well,” he said.

After having these encounters persistently occur over time, Higgins said he decided to have a medium accompany him and his team to the investigation site to perform a cleansing.

Higgins said the medium did her own walk around through the house, when she came to the filthy basement, she entered alone.

Upon ascending back into the house, Higgins said the medium was crying uncontrollably, because she had sensed bodies buried down in the basement.

As the team and the medium continued through the house to go on with the cleansing, she began to com­municate with something in the house.

Higgins said that she told him, “It’s here. It’s right behind me.”

Higgins said he has video and photo evidence of the medium becoming inhabited by something not of this world, and said he had to perform an exor­cism on the medium, who was there to cleanse the house and yet needed to be cleansed herself.

“I didn’t think I was going to have to participate in the actual exorcism,” Higgins said.

Using oils and holy water the medium brought with her, Higgins said he and his team started saying prayers and burning sage while sprinkling the inhab­ited medium to rid her of whatever invisible evil was making her jerk violently and make wretched faces.

“She was a nice lady until she became possessed,” Higgins said.

After exorcising the medium, Higgins said they then consecrated the house so no evil spirits could escape.

“It scared me. I was pretending I wasn’t scared, but I was deathly afraid,” Higgins said.

Higgins said he can’t explain what happened at the investigation site that night, but he thinks it was a demonic entity.

“Everybody has their demons, I just think it’s part of our own experiences we have to deal with,” he said.

Having had encounters with the unexplainable at a young age, Higgins said he first came across a ghost at the age of five.

Higgins said he used to live in a house that was itself haunted, and living there definitely affected his out­look on life.

“All those experiences really affected me as a kid and it kind of left stains in my mind,” he said.

Engineering student attempts to change math course

By Martin Montoya
Staff Reporter
Engineering major, Levi Green said he is trying to have changes made to the Math, Science, and Engineering program, mainly the Math curriculum, where there is a substantial gap between the Math 1315 and 1415 course that is hindering students.
Green said in his 1415 math course, which he had to drop because of the lack in overlapping teachings, there was about a 50 percent drop rate, with the majority of the class failing daily quizzes and tests.
After providing evidence of successful and understood quizzes and tests from 1315, Green said he was not happy with the initial answers he received from administration.
“It kind of sucks to go in there and go talk to these people, and have them tell you ‘oh well, you are on your own,’” Green said.
Brad Moore, Director of Communications and Media Relations said the School of Math, Science and Engineering will be reviewing their objectives in the 1415 Math course to ensure students are learning the required curriculum.
Green said the instructor for his 1415 Math class, was stricken aback that so many students came unprepared to the class.
“That is detrimental to engineering students, not having that preparation,” Green said.
Along with an issue in the math department, Green said the Engineering Supplemental Instructors who are supposed to help other students, have failed to show up at meetings with Green due to a lack of engineering student involvement.
“Everyone is aware there’s an issue here, that is why I’m trying to be proactive about it, instead of throwing everyone under the bus,” Green said.
The department’s curriculum is where the problems lie, and no one person can be blamed for the issues with the department, Green said.
With many faculty members at his side, Green said there is worry that students are getting through their classes because they were “close enough” to passing.
“Then we get thrown into the sharks when it comes time to go into a higher math program,” Green said.
Green said he has produced a possible solution; having a correspondence course in between the two math classes for the benefit of engineering students like himself.
It was suggested by the 1415 math teacher that there needs to be a 1315 class strictly geared towards Engineering students, he said.
“I think that is a little outlandish,” Green said.
With that in mind Green said he set forth with the help of instructors to create a two week course, complete with a supplemental instructor, handouts and notes, as well as a syllabus, he said.
“This is a serious issue and it’s not going to go away,” Green said.
After four weeks of repeated attempts to get through to somebody, Green said he had a plan for a petition, but that it is not needed now that people have listened.
But in the case that it is needed, Green said he will push it through and present a petition to the foundation and board members.
“Hands down, the faculty has been tremendous presenting this to the instructors. I don’t want it to be ugly,” Green said.
If there are any students who may be feeling like there is something missing between 1315 and 1415 math classes, or who are having troubles with supplemental instructors, to contact Levi Green at

Instructors object to lack of parking

By Martin Montoya, Staff Reporter
For some teachers, a paid parking space is just not a possibility as the majority of CNM faculty and staff that are part time have other jobs and just cannot afford the extra fees, American and Native American History Instructor Dr. Benay Blend said.
Blend said the biggest problem is that teachers have to show up nearly two and a half hours early just to get a parking space for a 10:30 a.m. class at Main campus. As a part time instructor with a salary that has gone down with the decline in the number of classes to teach, Blend said she just cannot find a way to budget for a convenient parking space.
“I’m not going to be paying out of my measly salary for the privilege,” Blend said.
If the value of faculty members was a high priority, people in charge would really understand that part time faculty does not make enough money to afford a permit, Blend said.
“I would like to get here at a normal time,” she said.
Unable to afford paid parking on an adjunct professor’s salary, Political Science Instructor Bob Anderson said that for two to three years at the beginning of his teaching career he hauled all his books and supplies from the far end of the parking lot on Montoya campus, where parking was available.
“That really wiped out my back,” Anderson said.
After going to the doctor’s office with pain, thinking being out of shape was the problem, Anderson said the doctor found that the pressure from the book bag he carried everyday had resulted in a ruptured disk in his lower back.
Anderson said that he now has permanent damage to his lower back which is irreparable.
“It just goes out on me and I go through a lot of pain,” Anderson said.
Anderson said that he now has a handicap placard that enables him to park closer, which he qualified for after being forced to use a walker and other painstaking tasks since his injury.
Stephen Andrews, History Instructor and Chair of History, Economics, Political Science, and Communications said that there has to be a way to solve this parking situation and the impact it has on not only faculty and students, but the part time instructors who do not have a significant amount of job security.
This is the case if teachers are traveling from campus to campus to try to get enough classes to teach to survive, he said.
“I have been part time, I have taught out of the trunk, I know what it’s about and it’s tough,” Andrews said.
CNM clearly does not have enough parking spaces to ensure every faculty member gets a guaranteed or reserved parking space, and at the same time the part-timers are expected to simply deal with these conditions, he said.
Director of Marketing and Communications Brad Moore said that as of yet there are no procedures in the works for instructors to be able to get set up with preferential parking permits, and that there are no immediate plans to change policies regarding instructor parking issues.
“I am not aware of anything in the works that would change the parking situation for employees,” Moore said.

Student announces grand opening of new clothing store

By Martin Montoya, Staff Reporter | Graphic by Rene Thompson, Designs and photos by Tommy Borunda

Tommy Borunda, Digital Media and Film major, has made his own business and multiple clothing lines while attending CNM, and wants to let people know about his new store scheduled to open in two weeks, he said.
The store, called V$ (Versus), will be located at 220 Sixth Street Downtown and will feature locally made brands by Borunda and other artists, he said.
Borunda’s designs are a twist on a concept based on the ‘90s television show ‘The Fresh Prince of Bel Air,’ appropriately named The FrshPrnts.
“I just flip things, old icons and other stuff,” Borunda said.
While Borunda sells his gear and develops new designs, he is also collaborating with a friend on the V$ brand who will be running the store with him and will also be selling his personal brand called The Two MM’s, he said.
For the “B-boys,” there is a design in the FrshPrnts line called the Breakman that looks like the Jordan dunk design flipped upside down, only he is posted up in a stall, he said.
Getting good responses from his designs and selling them all over and at any time, Borunda said he is excited for the opening of V$.
“I have been doing pretty good just selling my designs out of my trunk,” Borunda said.
A few other designs that Borunda has made that are organic to Albuquerque and have been sources of inspiration are designs such as Dead Dooks, Lota Hands, and Num Lokos, he said.
When V$ opens up, Borunda said they will be hosting art shows, B-boy (Break Dancers) events, and live performances.
Hosting these events is a way to get the community together as well as a way to bring the underground culture together, Borunda said.
“Everybody tends to jock the mainstream so we are trying to get people to jock the local’s,” Borunda said.
YWhile taking advantage of a program through CNM and U-Public, Borunda said he built many relationships and got a kick-start in filming and editing as well.
Along with editing and filming his own videos, Borunda said he can also make money editing projects for other people because there are many people who need film out here.
“This town is Tamalewood, there are a lot of people who need stuff done and not enough to do it,” Borunda said.
Borunda said he also does street art throughout the city and that is how people know what design will be coming out next in his clothing line, so keep a look out for upcoming designs, his store grand opening, and until then students can get FrshPrnts at or can follow Borunda on instagram @ THEFRSHPRNTS.

Fire Science program heats up student training

By Martin Montoya, Staff Reporter

Fire 2 Fire 1
Teachers and students are fighting blazing fires side by side all thanks to the CNM Fire Science program that offers an array of program concentrations, said Mike Kavanaugh, Fire Science Instructor.
Recent graduate Noelle Gabaldon, said she got her associates in two concentrations through the fire science program at CNM, with one in wildland firefighting and the other in structural firefighting.
“I owe it to CNM, because I think it is the only school in the state that has this fire science program,” Gabaldon said.
With eighteen years of experience fighting wild fires, Brian Henington, Fire Science Instructor, said this will be his fourteenth fall semester teaching at CNM.
Henington first got into wildland firefighting for summer employment, as many CNM students in the Fire Science program do, he said.
“It’s a very competitive field; the training that CNM provides gives them the advantage over the student that doesn’t try to get an associate’s degree,” said Henington.
Kavanaugh said that the Fire Science curriculum has three different associate concentration programs, and these concentrations show employers that students are ready for a higher or supervisory position.
The concentrations students can choose from are wildland and structural firefighting, as well as emergency medical service that is a newly offered focus, added about a year ago, as these three core programs are amongst the most popular fields in fire services, Kavanaugh said.
“I think what is good about our program is that our students after one semester with Brian (Henington) are certified wildland firefighters,” Kavanaugh said.
All over the country fire fighters have been battling wild fires since May and many are tiring and slowing down, as well as fire crews becoming affected by a common sickness called “Camp Crud,” Henington said.
“If one person gets the sickness, the whole crew gets it,” he said.
“Camp Crud” is the result of people from all over the country assembling together and working their bodies into the ground for 14 days straight at 16 hours a day, he said.
The crew’s immune systems get weak and everyone catches horrendous colds, he said.
“To do this you got to be tough, as you can imagine,” he said.
Throughout the fire season, Henington said most of his work was with a fire crew made up of military veterans, two of which are CNM students.
Henington’s fire crew was assigned to attack the Tres Lagunas fire that burned near the Pecos River in the Santa Fe national forest, he said.
According to the Tres Lagunas fire was caused by a downed power line that burned 10,219 acres from the end of May to early June of 2013.
Having been there within hours of the fire starting, the crew’s first objective was to protect the nearby communities, with the biggest community being Holy Ghost, and had an estimated 100 to 140 summer homes, which some were occupied by residents, he said.
Henington said that there was a little over a month of fire activity, with fires getting big very quickly driven by the wind and the impact of the drought.
“If we didn’t get the moisture we did in July, we would probably be burning like Idaho is right now, they are in pretty bad shape,” he said.
The fire science program has had many students throughout its time at CNM and Henington said he ran into many of his students on the fire line or at chow during a fire, yet he was still able to recruit from the fire line future CNM students.
“Several students coming this semester that were not students that I talked to on the fire line are now enrolled in our program,” he said.
With the Fire Science program on the rise and getting CNM students trained and into the work force, Henington said that with any one of the big fires that there was anywhere from 30 to 50 current or graduated CNM students.
Throughout his career Henington said he has worked for both the State Forestry and the State Land Office.
Having several certifications and years of experience, Henington as Incident Commander would primarily be placed on the fire line, but also worked on operations and safety for the veterans crew known as, “VPP1.”
“I was the youngest IC in State Forestry’s history at one time, a long, long time ago,” said Henington.
For more information on the Fire Science associates program go to, or call the program director at (505) 224-4207.

There’s an App for that; Blackboard available on iPhones and Android

By Martin Montoya, Staff Reporter

Just in time for the beginning of the semester, a free CNM guide will be available for students and faculty that will identify Applications for both Android and Apple devices for learning, reading, creating and studying, said Audrey Gramstad, Administrative Director, Distance Learning and Instructional Support.
Prior to now there has not been a college wide distance learning effort to give this information to students and the burden is on Gramstad and her staff to get the faculty to use the APPs, so students can effectively use these tools in learning here at school, Gramstad said.
“My staff who are all distance learning specialists, student employees who all take online courses or faculty that have identified a plethora of Apps that students and faculty can use to engage in their learning at CNM; they are all free Apps that won’t cost anything,” she said.
With the help of mobile analytics the staff in the distance learning community can tell that 90 percent of CNM students use Tablet devices for school, she said.
Educating the staff in making course content more mobile enabled is what the distance learning staff is attempting to do and Gramstad said it starts with simple things the faculty could do, such as making a syllabus in a PDF file instead of a Word document.
“There are lots of different Applications that you can use in conjunction with your distance learning classes you take, or face to face classes,” Gramstad said.
Blackboard does have a mobile App that students can use, and with its debut two years ago it was difficult to navigate but it has become much more efficient, she said.
The Blackboard mobile App is free, however you do have to pay to get access to the college site to get your courses. It costs $5 for a lifetime subscription and $1.99 for a year, she said.
“Most people that we have surveyed and talked to didn’t have a problem paying a couple bucks a year,” she said.
Gramstad explained it is the same price as what she pays for Angry Birds: Starwars and that it is only a small one-time fee just like any other mobile app.
Blackboard is a learning management system and there are two ways to get onto it, first is through the web by logging onto CNM and clicking the link, and the second by downloading the Blackboard mobile App, she said.
Every course offered at CNM each term has its own Blackboard page; it just depends on whether the faculty chooses to use it, she said.
There are between 7200 and 7500 online students each term, Gramstad said. Each term the week before school starts, and during the first two weeks there is drop in computer labs on all of the campuses at different times, and students can get actual hands-on help with Blackboard courses, distance learning courses, and information that can be found on the distance learning website.
“We thought since the explosion of tablets in learning, we are going to give our students a step up and say, ‘Hey, use these things,’” because knowing what application resources there are for students and how to use these tools can help everyone to succeed more in online classrooms, Gramstad said.